At Some Point There Will Be Nowhere Left to Sweep

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New York State Budget Director Laura Anglin is full of good cheer this week. On Thursday she said that:

New York faces a three-year deficit of $21.5 billion — $1.5 billion more than Governor Paterson estimated the day before.

Tens of thousands of private sector jobs will be lost, added to an astounding drop-off of revenues into the state. Revenue fell off $700 million between July and last month, she said, adding, “the worst is yet to come.”

The nationwide recession… will linger in New York at least through early 2009. It will take more time, she said, before revenues from Wall Street, which fuels a big chunk of the state treasury, rebound as the financial sector continues to bleed jobs and deals with the mortgage market crisis.

The prescription for all this gloom and doom? Why, this old chestnut, of course:

“The revenue will not be there to bail this out,” she said. “The typical New Yorker is having to tighten their belt. The state needs to do the same thing.”

That means cutting a hold-onto-your-hat $37 billion or so of the $121.6 billion state budget. So far, education aid, health care spending and welfare programs, are not under the knife. Even then, the cuts would leave a gap of a billion dollars or three. So what to do? Another old chestnut, of course.

Other steps will have to be taken to balance budgets, including collecting one-shot revenues through measures such as sweeping surpluses from dedicated accounts in the budget that are reserved for specific programs. She also said the state will have to create new revenue sources. The goal, she said, is to avoid increasing taxes.

Of course that’s the goal. Voters are dense, ya know. Say “taxes” and THEY ALL FREAK OUT REGARDLESS OF WHETHER IT APPLIES TO THEM OR NOT! At least, that’s the conventional wisdom here in Albany, aided and abetted by certain sloppy journalists.

Anyhow, Heaven forbid the affluent pitch in their fair share, which they haven’t, because of government largesse, for thirteen years.


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